Folk music - Bayou Seco

Bayou Seco – aka Jeanie McLerie and Ken Keppeler – are a very special duo who met in Louisiana in 1978, and moved to New Mexico some years afterwards. “We play songs from both regions,” says Jeannie, on the phone from France. “We also play cowboy songs from Texas and Arizona. Not Hollywood-style cowboy songs, the real ones. We have learnt our songs from people who are a lot older than us. Many of them are dead.”
“It’s not our fault,” chips in Ken, and I realise I’m on speaker.
“A lot of the music we play is from places where they never recorded 78’s,” he continues. “The people who taught us the songs asked us to go out and play them, because otherwise they might die out.” They are both multi-talented musicians: generally Jeannie plays the fiddle and Ken plays a diatonic accordion.

I ask them if they would consider themselves folk musicians. “We do, in the traditional sense,” says Ken. “In the States the term ‘folk’ is being hijacked by 35-year-old singer songwriters crying about losing their first love. It breaks my heart.” This is the fifth time they will have played at the Royal Oak. “We absolutely adore the club,” says Ken. “Last week we played a big concert in Minnesota, and we were told we had such a light touch that it felt like we were playing to a small room of people. Here we will be doing just that, but it’s a frightening experience because the floor singers are so amazingly talented they are a tough act to follow.” AL

Bayou Seco: cowpoke folk at the Oak
Royal Oak, Station St, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £4.50
Folk at the Oak:
(t) 01273 478124
Bayou Seco
(w) Website